HomeOpinionZim Open set to earn DP World Tour status

Zim Open set to earn DP World Tour status

DANIEL NHAKANISO
The returning Zimbabwe Open Golf Tournament is set to be part of the DP World Tour scheduled next year, underlining its status as one of the most prestigious golf tournaments on the African continent.

The DP World Tour is the main men’s professional golf tour of the European Tour group, with a global schedule featuring a minimum of 46 tournaments in 27 different countries across the 2022 season.

Currently, the Zimbabwe Open, which is hugely popular with players around the world due to its rich history and excellent facilities, is co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, the men’s professional golf tour based in South Africa.

Zimbabwe will become only the third African country to host DP World Tour co-sanctioned events after neighbours South Africa and Kenya.

Former top banker and veteran golf administrator Livingstone Gwata, who chairs the organising committee of the Zimbabwe Open, confirmed the imminent elevation of the tournament’s status during the launch of this year’s event.

“The excellent manner in which the Zimbabwe Open has been run over the years has not gone unnoticed. Our tour partners, the Sunshine Tour, represented here by their tournament director, Garry Todd, were invited by the European Tour (now rebranded as the DP World Tour) to recommend countries outside South Africa that could successfully stage a European tour event and they had no hesitation in putting Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Open forward for inclusion in the European Tour,” Gwata said.

“It is therefore expected that the 2023 Zimbabwe Open will be co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the DP World Tour. Congratulations and well done to all those that have made this lofty promotion possible. The 2022 FBC Zimbabwe Open will therefore be a dress rehearsal for the co-sanctioned tournament in 2023,” he said.

The imminent promotion of the Zimbabwe Golf Open tournament’s status comes after FBC Holdings Group were unveiled as the new title sponsors of the event which is set to make a grand return on the local sporting calendar next month after a three-year hiatus.

The hugely popular golf event will be played at Royal Harare Golf Club and Chapman Golf Club from May 19 to 22.

A star-studded field of 192 golfers from the continent and around the world is anticipated for this year’s event as they seek the coveted title which was last won by South African Bryce Easton in 2018.

Prior to its three-year hiatus due to exchange rate challenges and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Zimbabwe Open had become the most anticipated tournaments on the Sunshine Tour, attracting corporate backing and blue-chip sponsors.

As it prepares for its return, the tournament has lost none of its lustre with FBC headlining the enormous list of sponsors who have come on board to support the event which will be known as the FBC Zim Open.

FBC Holdings managing director Webster Rusere said the sponsorship package of ZW$12 500 000 towards the Zimbabwe Open Golf Tournament’s prize fund is part of their corporate social impact initiatives.

“As you may be aware, the FBC Holdings Group, sponsored ZW$12 500 000 towards the Zimbabwe Open Golf Tournament as part of our corporate social impact initiatives aimed at enabling the well-being of the communities we serve,” Rusere said.

“Our title sponsorship of the 2022 Zimbabwe Open Golf Tournament bears testimony to our firm commitment in playing a pivotal role in promoting the development of golf as a sport in Zimbabwe and the African continent at large.”

Old Mutual, who were the title sponsors in 2018, remain a part of the tournament as one of the associate sponsors together with Delta Beverages and OK Zimbabwe, while the anchor sponsors, include Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe and Sahwira Events.

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